Opec raises 2023 forecast on expectations of 'record' crude imports from India and China

Chinese crude imports remain 'on track' to reach a new annual record high for this year

Opec raised its forecast for oil demand growth for 2023. Reuters
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Opec on Monday raised its forecast for oil demand growth for 2023 and said it expects record demand from China and India in the fourth quarter.

World oil demand will rise by 2.5 million barrels per day this year, up from the group’s previous forecast of 2.44 million bpd, Opec said in its monthly oil market report.

Global crude demand is expected to grow by 2.2 million bpd in 2024, unchanged from the previous month’s assessment.

Chinese crude imports, which rose to 11.4 million bpd in October, remain “on track” to reach a new record high for this year, at around the same level, Opec said.

This the despite the “overblown” negative sentiment regarding China’s oil demand performance and the global oil market, the group added.

India’s crude imports are also expected to pick up in the fourth quarter, reaching a record high this year, the report said.

“The global oil demand continues to demonstrate strength and resilience, with better-than-expected growth in the fourth quarter, mainly in non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries.”

Brent, the benchmark for two thirds of the world’s oil, topped $95 a barrel in September as voluntary supply cuts by Opec+ members Saudi Arabia and Russia tightened the crude market.

However, rising exports from sanctioned countries as well as concerns about the global economy have dragged crude prices lower in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia and Russia said they would extend their combined supply reductions of 1.3 million bpd until the end of the year.

Brent was trading 0.25 per cent higher at $81.63 a barrel at 3.07pm UAE time on Monday. West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, was up 0.25 per cent at $77.36 a barrel.

Opec’s production is forecast to grow by about 50,000 bpd this year to average 5.4 million bpd, while 2024 output is expected to rise by another 65,000 bpd to reach 5.5 million bpd, the report said.

The group’s crude production last month increased by 80,000 bpd from September to 27.90 million bpd, Opec said, citing secondary sources.

Opec raised its forecast for 2023 non-Opec supply growth to 1.8 million from 1.7 million bpd and said the main drivers of the increase would be the US, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Norway, Guyana, Mexico and China.

For 2024, non-Opec crude supply is expected to expand by 1.4 million bpd, unchanged from the previous month.

Opec stuck to its forecast for world economic growth this year and the next but said it expects the US economy to grow at a faster pace in 2023 and 2024.

“Recent data confirms robust major global growth trends and healthy oil market fundamentals,” the group said.

“However, potential downside risk to current robust global economic growth forecasts, although minor, may include sustained restrictive monetary policies to fight inflation and geopolitical developments,” it added.

The International Monetary Fund has upgraded its forecast for real gross domestic product growth in 2023 to 4.5 per cent from a previous range of 1 per cent to 3 per cent but expects growth to soften to a range of 3 per cent to 4 per cent in 2024.

Updated: November 13, 2023, 12:01 PM